This article is from the American Psychological Society and appears in Psychological Science and looks at incidental learning. I find this quite interesting as most sources point to the time it takes for immigrants to develop linguistic competence without formal learning and therefore focus on strategies for skill development.

NOTES by Alison (Autumn 2014)
Interested in this topic because:
  • my asylum seeker students seem to learn more informally (outside the classroom) than formally (inside the classroom).
  • when I lived in Spain, I definitely consolidated the formal language lessons I was taking outside the classroom, incidentally, by going about my job of au pair.
  • I want to encourage my students to appreciate how much they are learning informally and encourage them to do more of it (it's free, and they don't have much cash).

Just adding a definition of informal learning that I found here:

"Informal learning is, by default, any learning that is not formal learning or non-formal learning. Informal learning is organized differently than formal and non-formal learning because it has no set objective in terms of learning outcomes and is never intentional from the learner’s standpoint*. Often it is referred to as learning by experience or just as experience. For all learners this includes heuristic language building, socialization, inculturation, and play. Informal learning is a persistent and pervasive ongoing phenomena of learning via participation or learning via knowledge creation, in contrast with the traditional view of teacher-centered learning via knowledge acquisition."

Just read here ( a couple of definitions that informal learning can be/is intentional on the part of the learner. How do we know, for sure??? But the learner has to 'let the learning happen' in some way.

Also from here:

"Formal learning, normally delivered by trained teachers in a systematic intentional way within a school, academy/college/institute or university, is one of three forms of learning as defined by the OECD, the others being informal learning, which typically takes place naturally as part of some other activity, and non-formal learning, which includes everything else, such as sports instruction provided by non-trained educators without a formal curriculum.[1]"

Will edit later.

Is it possible to measure/identify informal learning?

  • ** Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.
    • John Wanamaker, (attributed) US department store merchant (1838 - 1922)
Does this quote match the informal learning situation?